Genome-wide identification of binding sites for Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus lytic switch protein, RTA

Virology. 2009 Apr 10;386(2):290-302. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2009.01.031. Epub 2009 Feb 23.


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) replication and transcription activator (RTA) encoded by ORF50 is a lytic switch protein for viral reactivation from latency. The expression of RTA activates the expression of downstream viral genes, and is necessary for triggering the full viral lytic program. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assay coupled with a KSHV whole-genome tiling microarray (ChIP-on-chip) approach, we identified a set of 19 RTA binding sites in the KSHV genome in a KSHV-infected cell line BCBL-1. These binding sites are located in the regions of promoters, introns, or exons of KSHV genes including ORF8, ORFK4.1, ORFK5, PAN, ORF16, ORF29, ORF45, ORF50, ORFK8, ORFK10.1, ORF59, ORFK12, ORF71/72, ORFK14/ORF74, and ORFK15, the two origins of lytic replication OriLyt-L and OriLyt-R, and the microRNA cluster. We confirmed these RTA binding sites by ChIP and quantitative real-time PCR. We further mapped the RTA binding site in the first intron of the ORFK15 gene, and determined that it is RTA-responsive. The ORFK15 RTA binding sequence TTCCAGGAA TTCCTGGAA consists of a palindromic structure of two tandem repeats, of which each itself is also an imperfect inverted repeat. Reporter assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay confirmed the binding of the RTA protein to this sequence in vitro. Sequence alignment with other RTA binding sites identified the RTA consensus binding motif as TTCCAGGAT(N)(0-16)TTCCTGGGA. Interestingly, most of the identified RTA binding sites contain only half or part of this RTA binding motif. These results suggest the complexity of RTA binding in vivo, and the involvement of other cellular or viral transcription factors during RTA transactivation of target genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Line
  • DNA, Viral / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / genetics*
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / genetics
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Binding
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism*


  • DNA, Viral
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Rta protein, Human herpesvirus 8
  • Trans-Activators
  • Viral Proteins